July 26, 2014
Since I am sometimes an opinionated old lady and this is my blog, right off the bat I will tell you that, in my opinion, what is being done in Gaza (and has been done, periodically and fairly methodically) by the Israeli government is not self-defense, but the slow murder of the Palestinian people. We are told that they are targeting Hamas and other military targets with precision bombing – pinpoint precision is the term, I believe, that has been bandied about – and not targeting civilians. We are also told that, of the 900+ Palestinian dead (as of this morning), over eighty percent are civilians – mostly, women and children. So, in my opinion, either their targeting is neither pinpoint nor precise, or they are deliberately targeting civilian populations.
As I said, this is my opinion. You, dear reader, are free to disagree. You are even free to post your opinion in the comments section – respectfully. If you do otherwise, or if you appear to just want to start an argument, I will remove both your post and the ensuing argument.
Having said that, I would like to continue this post with some information for your consideration that is not just my opinion, but historical facts – some of which, as a person approaching seventy-four, I remember from events taking place during my own life. I have spent a lot of time this last two weeks reviewing that history from various sources, following references, etc. to determine the accuracy of both what I remember from my childhood and the history I was taught or read for myself through the years.
Being Jewish and Following Judaism
A Jew can be a physical Jew (born to a Jewish mother – Orthodox – or father if the child opts for Jewish identification – Reform) or a religious Jew (follows or converts to Judaism if not born a Jew). If you have/had only a vague understanding of “Jewishness” as I did, it’s well worth doing some reading at this site. A more detailed explanation (as well as a good deal of information about their history, etc.) can be found here http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm or here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism
Zionism is a secular political movement founded in the latter part of the 1800s to advocate for a Jewish homeland in what was then Palestine. Although there is a religion branch of Zionism, Judaism and Zionism are not synonymous. One is a political movement based on the desire for a homeland for the Jews one is a set of religious beliefs that guide the Jewish faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism It’s important to make that distinction, because most Palestinian resistance to “Israel” was, at least initially, to the Zionist politicians and settlers that, especially after the division of Palestine into the areas that were intended to become the two states of Palestine and Israel, they felt were determined to crowd them out of ever more of that territory that had been designated for them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine
History of Palestine and Israel
Much of what I was taught as a child about Israel and Palestine, indeed much of what I learned while growing up, was based on the Biblical accounts. But there are other historical accounts based on both the Jewish Talmud and other non-religious Jewish accounts as well as both biblical and secular archaeological evidence.
A good deal of what I read on my own, over the years, challenged some of those religious accounts. And, in looking through information on the internet – to refresh what I’ve read, or remembered from events that occurred during my lifetime – a good deal of it is frankly biased to one or the other of the two populations. So I’ll give you pertinent references in Wikipedia (which I found to be fairly unbiased) and you can read what you want of the histories presented there and follow what citations you find to your interest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah
But, Linda, the Palestinians Are Terrorists
It’s often been said, that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Most “terrorist” groups don’t think of themselves as terrorists, though they certainly use terror and violence as a means to an end. It is usually the nations or Empires they are reacting against (and their allies) who designate them as such. And you may be surprised to learn that this is as true for the Jewish groups of “freedom fighters” leading up to the recognition of Israel as a state in 1948 as it has been for the various Palestinian groups – including Hamas – that have led to the current crisis in Gaza. I remember when the various groups in the Jewish Resistance Movement – especially Irgan and Lehi, but also Palmah and Haganah – were considered terrorists and declared so, by the UN, Britain and the US. This was especially true after the bombing of the British Headquarters in the King David Hotel – which I also vividly remember from news paper accounts in 1946. (Yes, I was a very precocious and voracious reader from the age of four and a half years.) Yet, it forced Britain to withdraw from the Palestine Mandate and two years later, Israel was declared a state – which I also vividly remember.
So, again, I will just refer you to a couple of Wikipedia articles and an archival letter from Albert Einstien and other Jewish scientists to the New York Times and let you follow where you may. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionist_political_violence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_political_violence https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948
As someone who was raised a Christian, I was taught about the plight of the Jews and well remember the great rejoicing among my and other Christian families when the State of Israel was born. I remember the sick horror I felt as a child, seeing the pictures from and reading the articles about the concentration camps of the Nazi Holocaust. Even when I became an Atheist, I never questioned the veracity or the horror of those events. I do not question them now.
I do, however, question as propaganda much of what the US and the government of Israel put out about what is going on in Gaza these days and what has gone on in the contemporary Palestinian territories for quite some time, now. And it horrifies me, in the same way the Holocaust did, to see the Israeli government (and some individual Israeli Jews) carry out a similar, if smaller, extermination of Palestinian civilians or rejoice over it. I cannot accept that “Never Again” is justification for such behavior from the recognized government of a people I was taught to respect and rejoice with over the founding of their homeland, after their own long and terrible history.